BEIJING, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang raised six proposals to enhance Lancang-Mekong cooperation as the third Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) Leaders' Meeting was convened Monday via video link.
The Chinese proposals included promoting water resources cooperation, expanding trade ties and connectivity cooperation, deepening cooperation on sustainable development, upgrading cooperation on public health, strengthening cooperation on people's livelihoods, and upholding the spirit of openness and inclusiveness.
"The launch of the LMC has been motivated by a river. Drinking water from the same river, the LMC countries are as close as one family," said Li. "Over the past four years, the LMC has grown rapidly and entered a period of all-round development. It has become a new fountain of strength for regional development, and delivered real benefits to people of all related countries."
Li noted the LMC countries have brought the cooperation mechanisms on water resources onto a fast track, strengthened economic cooperation and trade ties, put people first in the LMC, and increased their well-being.
"Faced with COVID-19 since early this year, we have pulled together and supported each other in combating the virus and reviving regional growth," he said, noting that in the first half of this year, China's trade with the Mekong countries grew, bucking the trend of the global slowdown.
Li said that starting from this year, China will share Lancang River's hydrological data for the whole year with the Mekong countries. China will work with the Mekong countries to establish a Lancang-Mekong Water Resources Cooperation Information Sharing Platform to help better tackle climate change and natural disasters such as floods and droughts.
He proposed to hold the Ministerial Meeting of the Lancang-Mekong Water Resources Cooperation and the Water Resources Cooperation Forum regularly, and deliver the cooperation projects on dam safety and early flood warnings to enhance capacity for integrated river basin management and water resources management.
Li called for greater synergy between the LMC and the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, which runs through western China and connects Southeast Asia with the Eurasian continent, saying this "will make trade routes more convenient, help optimize the allocation of resources, keep industrial and supply chains stable, and spur coordinated development."
"We also need to work towards signing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement within this year to raise regional economic integration to a higher level, and jointly uphold free trade," he said.
Li called on parties to ensure the success of the China-Laos and the China-Thailand railways, and build a network of "fast tracks" and "green lanes" across the region to facilitate the flow of people and goods, and keep industrial and supply chains stable.
On sustainable development cooperation, Li said China welcomes more quality agro-products, livestock, and by-products from Mekong countries, appealing for stepping up cooperation to tackle climate change, improve air quality, and protect biodiversity.
Regarding public health cooperation, he said China will set up a special fund for public health under the framework of the LMC Special Fund and continue to provide material and technical support to Mekong countries to the best of China's ability.
"Once developed and deployed in China, COVID-19 vaccines will be provided to Mekong countries on a priority basis," he said, adding that countries need to carry out information sharing and joint responses in major public health emergencies, and jointly support the World Health Organization (WHO) in better playing its role.
While urging for enhancing exchanges and mutual learning between various cooperation frameworks, Li called on parties to promote the LMC's interaction and cooperation with other sub-regional mechanisms.
"We will actively explore cooperation with Japan, the ROK, the EU, and other third parties," said Li, adding that China supports ASEAN centrality in East Asian cooperation, and hopes to contribute to ASEAN community building, and deepen the China-ASEAN strategic partnership by promoting Lancang-Mekong cooperation.
China has achieved significant progress in both its COVID-19 response and socio-economic development. China's development will create even more cooperation opportunities for Mekong countries and the rest of the world, said Li.
"We look forward to working with the Mekong countries to deepen and expand Lancang-Mekong cooperation, and provide stronger impetus for the development and prosperity in our sub-regions and beyond," said Li.
Acclaiming the fruitful outcomes of Lancang-Mekong cooperation in total agreement with Li's proposals on ramping up institutional cooperation, leaders attending the meeting said Lancang-Mekong cooperation has played a major role in promoting regional economic and social development, improving people's livelihoods, consolidating peace and security, and enhancing mutual understanding and trust.
All attending parties fully acknowledged the progress made on water resources cooperation, and expressed their willingness to work with China in deepening economic development belt cooperation in Lancang-Mekong river basin areas, synergize the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, and strengthen interconnectivity.
They appreciated China's promise to make COVID-19 vaccines international public goods once successfully developed, and increase the availability of the vaccines among developing countries, expressing the readiness to work with China in deepening public health cooperation, strengthening cooperation in pandemic prevention and control, and facilitating economic recovery.
In addition, all parties expressed a commitment to promoting regional economic integration as well as trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and upholding effective multilateralism.
On the sidelines of the meeting, Li and other LMC leaders jointly attended a handover ceremony of Myanmar taking over the next co-chair of LMC.
A Vientiane Declaration of the third LCM Leaders' Meeting and a Co-chairs' Statement on cooperation of synergizing the Mekong-Lancang cooperation and the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor were released at the meeting.
The meeting, under the theme of "Enhancing Partnership for Shared Prosperity," was co-chaired by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith of Laos, the LMC Co-Chair, and attended by Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia, President U Win Myint of Myanmar, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha of Thailand, and Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc of Vietnam.
Initiated by China in 2014, the LMC consists of six countries -- China, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam.
The Lancang River originates on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in southwestern China. It is called the Mekong River as it flows through the other five countries before emptying into the sea.